My Dog Wants to Rule the World

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Thank you Telegraph.co.uk for the photo

Thank you Telegraph.co.uk for the photo

Remember that old Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, I am sure that dates me!  And, even though I remember it I was still very young ha ha!

Unfortunately I still quite frequently run across people who think their dog or my dog wants to rule the world.

Actually she (my dog) probably would if she thought about it long enough; she thinks she is pretty tough stuff.

Thank goodness dogs don’t have a lot of ability to plot and plan such things or I don’t think our species would be in charge for long.

Our species is about the only one that is conniving and rational enough to plot these kinds of things.

Yet, we humans think everything that our dogs do is to dominate or control us or the world.

When in all actuality they do things for the same reason we do things, because it works, it is an instinct or it feels good.

Dogs don’t have a lot of rational thought to think in the past or put plans toward the future.

thanks to king of george blogspot for the photo

thanks to king of george blogspot for the photo

That’s Dominance

During the dark ages of dog training we were lead to believe that everything that may go wrong is dominant.

  • If your dog goes through the door before you, he is dominant.
  • If your dog or puppy nips at you, he is dominant.
  • If your dog wants to sit on the sofa, he is dominant.
  • If your dog wants to sleep on your bed, he is dominant.
  • If your dog pulls on the leash, he is dominant.
  • If your dog steals your food, he is dominant.
  • If your dog jumps on you, he is dominant.
  • If your dog chews your things, he is dominant (and getting back at you).
  • If your dog poops in the house, he is dominant (and he is getting back at you).
  • If your dog looks into your eyes, he is dominant.
  • If your dog doesn’t listen to your commands, he is dominant.

But the Truth is it is Sooo Much More Simple Than That

If your dog races through the door before you, chances are he is a faster animal than you, he knows where you are going and he wants to go too (he doesn’t want to take over the world).

If your dog nips and bites at you, chances are he has too much energy and he needs exercise and he knows this is a successful way to get you to engage with him.  For more on what I Mean by Exercise click here.

If your dog wants to sit on the sofa, he is smart and realizes how cushy it is up there.  We don’t sit on the floor for a reason; it is uncomfortable.

Give your dog a dog bed if you don’t want him on your furniture and click on this article for more help if you want to Keep Your Dog Off Your Furniture.

If your dog wants to sleep on your bed… see above.  When my 2 year old Malinois was a puppy and my husband would let him out early in the morning on the weekend he would race back to the bedroom and jump on the bed and then become totally immobile.

He was Invisible

This Face Tried to Hide in the Bed...

This Face Tried to Hide in the Bed…

It was as if, if he was still no one could see him or would make him get off the bed with me… he became invisible.  Because he wanted to take over the world?  Ummmm no, it’s because I have a TempurPedic © and that thing is comfortable!

If your dog pulls on his leash, chances are you really haven’t spent a lot of time teaching him not to or how to act on a leash.  For more on Leash Manners click here (be sure you click on and read the other articles in this series if you want excellent leash skills).

If your dog steals your food, chances are you left your food out and he likes to eat.  For more help with your Thieving Dog click here.

If Your Dog Jumps on You, Chances are He Likes You.

He isn’t trying to rule the world, he is trying to get closer to your face (where dog’s interact).

He probably hasn’t been taught to keep all four feet on the ground, or given an incompatible behavior (like sitting for petting) either.  If you want good manners you have to teach them to your dog.

For Help with jumping click here.

If your dog chews your things, chances are he was bored and you left your things out.  It may even be that your things smell like you so he is even more happy to eat them when you are away.

For help with Chewing click here.

I Assure You He Isn’t Trying to Rule the World or Get Even with You

I Love These Photos!  Thanks Sodahead

I Love These Photos! Thanks Sodahead

Dogs are simple people 😉 and studies have shown they don’t have the ability to plan or feel ashamed for more on that click here.

If your dog poops in the house, chances are he had to go potty, and felt like going inside wasn’t a big deal or was his only option.  Sometimes I need to use the rest room too… especially when I am awake, eating, drinking and active.

If your dog looks at you, chances are he is trying to engage you or get your attention.

Unless he is staring at you from across the room with dilated pupils and growling; chances are he doesn’t have bad intentions.

Most dogs look into our eyes because we look into theirs and it is a way to read our moods and behaviors.

So many people tell me they don’t want to teach their dogs to give them eye contact and focus because that encourages dominance… um, no it gives you control of what your dog looks at; simple as that.

I don’t go around staring down dogs I don’t know, but I sure do have control of my dog’s  eyes.  For more on Eye Contact and Focus click here.

Same Dog as Puppy Picture, but this Kind of Attention Takes WORK!!

Same Dog as Puppy Picture, but this Kind of Attention Takes WORK!!

If Your Dog Doesn’t Listen to Your Commands Chances are You Don’t Train Often Enough

How often do you take your dog out and TRAIN?  Not walk to the park or hang out with him in the house or go for a hike but actually work on his obedience and compliance?

How often do you have to bribe him with a treat?  For more on why bribery doesn’t work and why you might be Misusing Treats click here.

If he isn’t listening, either you haven’t taught him or you aren’t devoting time to keeping his skills sharp.

If you don’t use them you’ll lose them.

Do you remember junior high algebra off the top of your head (no looking up help and it doesn’t count if you are an algebra or math teacher)?

Chances are NO, you don’t remember junior high algebra.

But if you studied your child’s algebra book for a bit, it would probably come back to you fairly quickly.

If you don’t use the things you have been taught they get filed away in another drawer in your brain somewhere and you form other habits and things you remember.

Your dog is the same way; if you haven’t worked on his basic or advanced obedience chances are he doesn’t really remember it.

He will remember his training if you are patient and work together again, but don’t expect his memory to be better than yours!

There are 46 Comments

  1. Sherilyn says:

    Hello. THANK you so much for debunking all of the ‘advice’ that keeps telling us things that indicate our K9 kids want to DOMINATE when they are just being natural!! Even being told not to play TUG because it makes them feel DOMINANT seems so silly! My Border/Aussie LOVES to play tug, and asks for it all of the time. I DO make her ‘ask me nice’ which means to ‘sit’ without jamming the tug toy into my legs to tell me! But YES I play tug with her. We have 2 wonderful K9 family members. A senior male red merle Aussie 12 yrs old….a rescued Border/Aussie 10 months and a rescued mini-Aussie 10 months 3 weeks. We have one big beef and that is with the female Border/Aussie who thinks she runs the house, LOL. We were warned about female BCs so this is not news, BUT the vocalization is KILLER!!! She is the most vocal dog I have ever encountered, including talking huskies! And her ‘bark’ is so shrill it sounds more like a yelp, and is extremely off-putting. We have tried everything, and this vocalization seems to come with every and any emotion. But WOW when someone comes to the door and you don’t let her ‘meet’ them, and every morning when daddy leaves for work. It sounds like she is being murdered!! Any advice on how to get a handle on THIS issue?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some dogs are more shrilly vocal than others! That is something that would take a lot of effort to even try to change and chances are in times of stress and excitement she would revert back to the pitch.

    Best thing to do is not reward it, especially when she wants to “meet” other people. She needs to learn that being quiet and offering another behavior like “sit” is the way to get to meet new people.

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  2. Wesley Laird says:

    Canines have dependably been around as man’s closest companion. So as to have a healthier bond, furnishing them with a right to gain entrance to the right dog training can surely do marvels to your pets

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  3. Christine Pielenz says:

    Thanks for this. It is scary how persistent this myth is. Cesar Millan certainly didn’t help debunk this, something that really upsets me. So many dogs have been abused and misunderstood and even put down because of this nonsense.

    [Reply]

    Monica Henderson Reply:

    I agree with you Christine. I don’t believe in C.M.’s philosphy either and it upsets me as well. I have learned so much from Minette’s blogs & Chet’s training CD’s. My Rusty (collie/golden retriever mix) doesn’t want to rule the world or me. I have used Minette’s & Chet’s advice on training (guiding) Rusty to be a well mannered & polite family member, and it is working! Our family consists of Rusty & myself, neither of us are dominant. There is only mutual unconditional love, respect and understanding.

    Minette I love your blogs.. never stop posting them.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Thank you 🙂 I appreciate your kindness

    [Reply]

    Paula Zima Reply:

    I agree Minette, I love your blogs… and your insights and views, “never stop posting them!”

    Minette Reply:

    Thank you Paula 🙂 that makes me feel good 🙂

  4. Linda says:

    This was a great posting and anyone getting a dog for the first time should read it. We actually get on the floor and roll around with our dogs and they love it and we can’t stop laughing at how excited and happy they are playing with us. Your post was really good today because it showed how much you love your dogs too!

    [Reply]

  5. I really enjoy your posting and I agree anyone who is getting a dog for the first time should read this article.
    Thank you for taking the time to send it out to. I enjoy all
    tip on raising and training a dog.

    [Reply]

  6. William Van Winkle says:

    I disagree with the premise that, dogs at least, don’t ‘get even’. The last dog I had was a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix that our son teased relentlessly. Every once in a while, when he was least expecting it, she would leave a little ‘surprise’ for him to put his feet in when he got out of bed. If that isn’t ‘getting even’ I don’t know what is. She also got even with my wife and I when we had to leave her overnight and forgot to leave a light on, as she didn’t like to be left alone with no lights on. When we arrived home, we discovered she had pulled all the covers and sheets off of our bed (she didn’t chew any of it). She had also turned over the clothes hamper and sorted the clothes, putting mine in a pile in the living room and my wife’s in a pile in the bed room. She was sitting next to the pile of my clothes with a look of ‘see what I can do if you don’t leave a light on for me’.

    [Reply]

  7. Jim Roe says:

    We have a rescued Jack Russell mix and she is great except for going potty in the house. I tried spanking, not very successful, potty pads some success.

    I would like for her just to go outside, but telling her to go potty has been a failure. If the weather is bad she will only go off the porch with a lot of effort on our part

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    All dog training takes a lot of effort on your part!!!

    I go out with my dogs and make sure they go potty. if I have to use an umbrella and take them out in the rain, I will… if they don’t go I will crate them and try again in 10 minutes or so until there is success and there is no freedom in the house until I know you aren’t going to have an accident.

    [Reply]

  8. betty says:

    what do i do to know if my lab knows how to protect the house with me in it. he jsut looks at the door when he hear something strange at the door.he never barks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He is a lab, they are not exactly known for protective instincts 😉

    [Reply]

  9. Carol says:

    Loved this article and I so agree. However, I believe that dogs have more reasoning power than we sometimes think. I let both of my dogs on the couch next to me. I love it. There is some sibling rivalry. When the older one wants to take the spot, she will go outside and bark. The pup runs out to see what is happening and the older runs in and sits next to me. I think it is hilarious. I sure the younger one will catch on pretty quickly. Keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

  10. lynda says:

    We have a golden doodle 7 months old. The problem were experiencing is MOUTHING. We have tried holding his mouth closed. We have tried the saying NO BITE. We have tried the OUCH Yelling. Nothing is working. He does it when we go to pet him on the head. He does it when he wants to play. He does it when I try to brush him…then it turns into barking along with mouthing. HELP!

    [Reply]

  11. Hi
    I have 2 dogs A AIRDALE WHO’S JUST SHY OF 3YRS OLD i like to try that eye contact method on him and fifi who is 1 yr old toy poodle. My question are they too old to learn.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Never too old to learn http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/puppy-older-dog-dog-learn/

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  12. Eldon says:

    can you train three dogs together

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You should separate them out for learning then once they have learned you can put them together… read thishttp://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/train-dog-time-question-answered/

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  13. Paul endes says:

    real quick, golden retriever/ staffordshire terrier mix, plus anatolian shepard in there too. my dog is very friendly, loves to play, muscle bound, well mannered. Now when i take him to the dog park, he never starts fights, but when the other dog does, mine will not only fight, but there is no “OFf’ switch. even if the other dog backs down, mine will get in his face and bark at them until he starts again.

    also, he will get in another dogs face and put his head on their back or cheek to cheek and give a low rumbling growl, if they don’t growl back, it’s play time. If they do, it’s fight time. once a fight starts, he is hell bent on kicking their ass and it does not stop until one of the dogs are removed.

    i will not discourage my dog for standing his ground, but then again, if the dog backs down, time to let it go.

    Where is the “OFF’ switch/

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would not allow a dog like this to socialize off leash or play. You can teach him to be around other dogs and on leash with you while not paying attention to other dogs but if he is risking his life by fighting.

    Some time he is going to fight with the wrong dog and the owner is going to call animal control and deemed a dangerous dog. And once he is a dangerous dog he is on a short leash to possible euthanasia.

    I have dominant dogs and I don’t allow them to play. We compete and they can be around other dogs without fighting but they are not allowed to play. Not all dogs should be socialized in a playful way.

    [Reply]

    paul endes Reply:

    this is no way meant to defy or insult you, but let me further note that my dog has never fought with smaller dogs even after being aggressed/ attacked by them, he backs away.

    two, hypothetically , if an authority does come into play, they had better be within their legal rights, because I can assure you, even if they are armed and at the ready, they do not want to tangle with me, don’t worry about the details.

    i also have videos of my dog playing with and acting fatherly to puppies who want to play wrestle ,per say. they bite on him and he rolls onto his back and allows it in a friendly way.

    also he came to the rescue of a little girl who was screaming while two dogs were fighting, she was not being hurt, but he thought so, so he ran in between her and the dogs to protect her, then proceeded to stop the two dogs. How’s that for a ‘dangerous dog’.

    so far this rescue dog now knows 17 commands , english and silent hand commands, plus house protection training against an armed intruder. I have had him for 6 months. my rottweiler, in the 1990’s, i trained in 15 commands in 3 languages, plus home protection taining against an armed intruder.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    “Tangling” with another human is a crime adding the fact of anyone being “armed” also makes me worry.

    I stand by what I say, dogs with aggression issues and dogs that are willing to fight have no business being in a dog park or playing with just any dog.

  14. Ellie says:

    What is your guys email address?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    info@thedogtrainingsecret.com

    [Reply]

  15. Allie says:

    How about the urge to chase our cats? Huge problem, we may have to return him to the shelter for re adoption if we cannot get him trained not to do this. Sometimes he listens, and sometimes he doesn’t. It will only take one time, and serious injury to the cats could happen. HELP

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Use a leash and teach him. There is no reason a leash cannot be utilized in the house http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/avoid-leash-dog-training/

    [Reply]

    Allie Reply:

    thank you for the info! We are working with a trainer, and he too, is liking us using the leash for training! 😀 I have NO problem with the leash idea, and I for sure do not think it is cruel, this will most likely keep him from going back to the shelter.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    and eventually you won’t need it and he will be a perfect pet for you 🙂

  16. Diane says:

    I adopted a boxer/ staffordshire mix after he had lived behind my work for months, shelter got him because his neck was cut. They did so much work on him and were going to put him down due to lack of room. My only concern with him. Is walking in a leash. Beloved the harness but has yet to wear a collar. When walking on leash he will abruptly stop a sit, have to persuade him to proceed. We just make it around one block, and when we get home he sleeps for a couple of hours. He is about 18 months old now. Any ideas o. How to get him more comfortable walking would be appreciated. He gets “happy” when I show him the harness but once outside, a car driving by, a person walking and he freezes.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Take his food on walks,do it often and make it fun. Dogs work through things quickly if we push just a little and make sure it is fun

    [Reply]

  17. Janet says:

    I also love your blogs. They are extremely helpful. I have a 9 month old 80lb, GSD. Sadie is a beautiful and very smart girl. She loves to play the tug game. She’s so strong though she can almost pull you out of a chair. When she gets bored she comes and puts her head in your lap or puts her foot on your leg. She’s not real subtle. I at first thought the foot on the leg was her being a little dominant. I then realized she just needed a little attention. If I stop doing whatever I was doing for a second, stop and give her a good pet or hug she’s good to go. Why did we get our dogs if we didn’t want a companion? Dogs are sort of like having a small child, they can’t tell you through speech what they want, so a head on the lap or a foot on the leg, works for them. That works for me as well.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I admit mine sometimes hates when I work, so I close up my computer for a bit and we spoon 😉

    [Reply]

  18. peggy says:

    PLEASE HELP ME i have 4 dogs 2fixed chows and not fixed cane corso they fight each other and i don’t now what to do. i am getting the cane corso fixed in January 2016 they even draw blood on each other and i tried using the calm voice to get them to stop i have to stop them myself before one of them wands up died I need advice form someone who has had the experience of this happening to them on how they got the fighting to stop PLEASE HELP.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Not all dogs can get along read this and decide if you can truly keep them separate http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/love-dog-lesson-sociability/

    [Reply]

  19. spike says:

    Paul Endes is shocked that his dog is displaying the same rude, aggressive mannerisms of his owner. Gee I wonder what caused that? Thanks for standing by your original statement. Some dogs ( and people ) should not be allowed to socialize off leash.

    [Reply]

  20. Beth says:

    hi there, i have a 12 week old golden pup. for the most part he is very sweet however recently he has started to nip at me which i understand is mostly pup behavior. But…. he snarls at me when i tell him no or off. When i do use my no way voice he seems to respond with more aggression i will call it. It started while outside with him after potty we play fetch with various toys and i always have a toy with me and my treats and clicker to praise when good behavior!! i dont overuse but when he stops nipping at me and is calm i will praise him with a good boy or sometimes make him sit or down then click… treat. it seems the more i tell him no or attempt to control him the more fiesty and nippy he gets with me. today i got desperate and put some rocks in a can and when he started to snarl at me oh yes and bark… i shook the can. worked for a few times and now he just barks and nips at me and the can!!!! this is not my first pup or dog and have not had this experience before. he is trained for sit. down and working on come pup, potty and crate training,oh and leash training which is going ok!! do you have any insight into this behavior? and tips for me to nip this!! i do try to give him plenty of exercise.. walks, trips to the beach, indoor play and out door play and lots of chew toys!!

    [Reply]

  21. Jo says:

    Any Schnauzer tips? Thanks.

    [Reply]

  22. Vicki says:

    I have a female border collie and I agree the bark is horrible . Someone told me to spray her with water when she barked . Now when someone comes to the door all I have to do is touch the spray bottle and she won’t make a sound . I never thought it would work but it’s magic . And of course it doesn’t hurt her if I spray a little water in her face . I think it only took twice before she learned .

    [Reply]

  23. Phyllis says:

    My doberman/lab was in the pound for so long that she won’t let me out of her sight. If I go to the kitchen, she goes with me. If I go to the dining room to my computer, she goes with me. If I go to the grocery, she chews the doorknob off my door. So I put hot sauce on the knob. I feel so mean. When I put her in her crate, she will pull on the wires until they fall on her and somehow gets out and is waiting at the door when I come home. Please, help. By the way, I’m 81 years old and let her get by with everything.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would get a plastic crate so she can’t do this or you can look into an “Impact” crate, they are chew proof.

    [Reply]

  24. Patricia says:

    Help! I have a 10 year old Australian Labradoodle. He is well mannered , walks beautifully on leashe. Waits for me to go through the door and down the stairs first. He plays gently with my granddaughters Maltipoo BUT when he sees other dogs whether at the dog park or when we are on a walk he immediately tries to mount the other dog. He was neutered by the breeder before we even brought him home. How do I fix this behaviour.?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would look into our Service Dog training program!

    [Reply]

  25. Larry says:

    My big boy is a German Shep/and Newfoundland cross, and when he was about 3 months old, he tried that on me. I told him NO firmly, about something, and he gave me a growl/bark (grr-rowf) I gave it right back, as near as I could, and louder, and then told him, “look here, I’m the big dog in this house”. I was supprised when he laid down and put his head on his paws! He hasn’t challenged me since, and he’s about 90 lbs now, and only 6 mo. old.I don’t want to have to argue about who’s boss when he gets his full growth.

    [Reply]

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